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Gaming Mouse For Grandma?
The Logitech G5 claims to be a serious gaming mouse. If the G5's crazy color scream and feature-rich featuring doesn't convince you of this outright, than opening up the packaging will. Inside, you're going to find a small, silver box, and inside the box you're going to find a set of weights. Although you might think they're there so that you can pump up your pinky between shoot-em-ups, they're actually an important part of the mouse. You can use them to customize the mouse's weight, a feature found generally on gaming mice, as is the G5's high-grip texture.
But being a product for serious gamers means it may not appeal to anyone who spends more time at work than playing World Of Warcraft, and the gaming mouse market side of the equation is highly competitive. Is the G5 a legend, or a dud?
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Comfort And AestheticsRating
You could be forgiven for thinking that the G5 was, at some point, placed on a lightning rod in the middle of an Oklahoma thunderstorm. It's matte black body crackles with a strip of blue lighting bolts, cloud-to-cloud style. It's cool, in the same way that a Cadillac Escalade with spinners the size of a washing machine is cool - kind of tacky, but certainly eye-catching. Those looking for something truly outrageous will be disappointed, however, as the tacky paint job is let down by the rest of the package. The G5's body contours are about as ubiquitous as it gets. As a result, the G5 never seems at home. It's too flashy to fit comfortably on an oak wood desk, but too mundane to look good sitting beside a back-lit keyboard.
Fortunately, the G5's visually drab body will be forgiven once you actually start using the mouse. I've used few mice that felt better in my hand, and all of them were at least twenty five dollars more expensive. The G5 makes no pretensions at targeted ergonomics, and is better for it. Its medium-sized, medium-height design fits most hands well. The only obstacle between you and point-and-click bliss will probably be the G5's grainy texture, which gives the mouse a dirty feeling. The strange texture is meant to make the mouse easier to grip and move about, and it serves that purpose well. But I can't help but feel that, over time, it will be magnet for dirt, and that the little ridges will turn into miniature canyons of filth.
That, however, is a meager price to pay: my suspicion of future sanitary issues is only a prophecy - the G5's fabulously comfortable design is a fact.
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The G5 is loaded, packed to the gills with features, with the exception of wireless - being a gaming mouse, wired is standard. The G5 is a laser mouse, and while its maximum DPI resolution is not as high as some other laser mice, it is more than sufficient for anyone lacking the ability to score a head-shot within a tenth of a second of an enemy coming in view. In fact, its sensitivity is such that it may in some cases feel too sensitive, in which case the G5 accommodates you with a button that provides three different settings for sensitivity.
And then, of course, there are the weights. If I recall correctly, the G5 was one of the first gaming mice to incorporate the feature. Although the idea of adding weights to your mouse in order to adjust its weight may, at first glance, seem like an option only the most OCD of geeks could appreciate, it is actually a practical feature which I think more mice should use. Laser mice are highly sensitive, and as a result, they will pick up on little movements that older mice would not notice. This is a good thing when twitch-gaming, but its a bad thing if your room is cold and you've got the shivers, or if your desk isn't the most stable piece of furniture in the world. Adding weight makes the mouse feel less twitchy. If you're an average user, then you'll probably want to dump at least half of the available weights into the G5. The G5, with no weights added, seems eager to evade gravity, and as a result your cursor will move halfway across your screen every time a butterfly on the far side of the planet flaps its wings.
The only area where one might say the G5 is lacking is buttons. Left, right, two thumb buttons, and a click-able scroll wheel. The sensitivity buttons can potentially be re-mapped for use in games, but their location isn't terribly useful. So, five buttons, really - That's all folks, nothing more to see here. To be fair, that's all that you really need, and it isn't entirely reasonable to expect more from the G5 which, despite its gaming mouse credentials, is priced at the entry level for this kind of hardware. It is fair to expect them to be easy to use - and here the G5 stumbles, as its scroll button is a bit stiffer than it should be. It is easier to use then the notoriously difficult scroll button on the MX400, but it is far from perfect.
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Value And VerdictRating
Here is where it all comes together. The G5 is a wonderful mouse, but being a gaming mouse, it needs to be. These are products that occupy a lofty price bracket of $49.99 or higher (though you can buy the G5 for a bit less online), which probably makes it among the most expensive mice available in brick-and-mortar retailers. To compete in this price range, it has to have a laser, and it has to have a funky color scheme, and it has to have at least five buttons.
But it provides something that many mice in the price range don't have. Comfort. Many gaming mice are designed with a claw grip in mind, which is some kind of PC gaming martial-art that hardcore gamers use. That's great if you're trying to out-twitch a Red Bull fueled KeSPA pro from Korea, but for everyday use, they can get a bit tiresome, even painful. That's not the case with the G5. The G5 is just as good as an everyday mouse as it is a gaming mouse. Perhaps even better.
And when you consider that, and the price of most products with this feature set, the G5 begins to look incredibly attractive. Most laser mice cost at least $39.99, and most of those aren't as comfortable, don't let you adjust sensitivity on the fly, and don't have the weights. In other words, the G5 isn't just a good gaming mouse. It's a good mouse. Period. Now to get your co-workers to stop laughing at the paint job.